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4 Elephant Seal Pups Released Back Into Ocean After Weeks Of Rehabilitation

MALIBU ( — Four elephant seal pups were released back into the Pacific Ocean Thursday after they were beached about two months ago.

The pups were found onshore dehydrated, exhausted and unable to fend for themselves. They were brought to the California Wildlife Center by other rescue groups that were experiencing overcrowding.

Staff and volunteers nursed the seals back to health by first giving them a strict liquid diet. They were then fed fish.

After a month, the pups went from 90 to 150 pounds.

"It has been so exciting for us to be able to do this," said Jeff Hall, the marine mammal coordinator at the California Wildlife Center. "It's also very exciting because they are a lot of work."

"It's a very nurturing thing. We do keep them wild, so they're not pets. But that doesn't stop us from having an emotional attachment," said volunteer Deb Clem.

The staff used wooden boards to gently guide the 6-month-old pups into the ocean at Pacific Cove in Malibu.

After a few minutes, two of the four found their sea legs.

The other two were reluctant to leave their human friends.

"The waves here and the crowd are just a little bit of a stressful situation for them. Once they realize they're seals again, they'll definitely go back out into the ocean," said Hall.

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